The PizzaBot 5000 (or “PB5K” as L2F President, Shawn Lange called it during today’s presentation), is an enclosed robotic system that will spread sauce and cheese on a pizza crust, as well as slice and dispense pepperoni. From there the pizza is removed from the machine, either by a human or by another robot, and placed in an oven for cooking.
The PB5K doesn’t use cartridges for ingredients. Instead, it has big hoppers for cheese and sauce. Pepperoni is loaded as a whole stick and sliced on demand (you can set the thickness). The entire system is refrigerated to keep food safe.
As demonstrated, the PB5K works with three base ingredients (in this case, sauce, cheese and pepperoni), which it can put together in under one minute. The advantages of the PB5K, according to Lange, is that it can crank out pizzas all day, and uses sensors and some computer vision for precise ingredient dispensing, which reduces food waste and save restaurants money.
If this pitch sounds familiar, that’s because that’s also the value prop from Picnic with its pizza-assembling robot. The difference, however, is that Picnic’s system is modular and linear, so it can add as many ingredients by adding more modules. Plus, Picnic has said that its system can be used for foods other than pizza (think: burritos or Subway-style sandwiches).
While not mentioning Picnic directly, Lange did mention that instead of a linear approach to pizza assembly, Middleby has chosen the “clustered” layout for its machine (it’s contained in one cabinet). This gives the PB5K a smaller footprint, with the machine coming it at around 3 – 4 sq. meters.
The PB5K will go into beta in Q1 of next year. Lange said the price was $70,000 for a machine, though the company is exploring a robot-as-as-service model.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post misstated that the PB5K only worked with pepperoni.